Does Success in Life Require Compromise?

The issue of compromise comes up all the time, everywhere. To have healthy, meaningful relationships, we’re advised to seek out a middle ground. In the workplace, we hear, it’s vital that we compromise.

Even as some people insist that compromise is a guiding principle of social life, it’s clear that not every compromise leads to desirable outcomes.

Sometimes, it can be toxic to a relationship. Or, it can sink your business. Sometimes you need to say no. But when should you compromise — and when should stand your ground? How can you tell?

Ayn Rand’s philosophic analysis of compromise is enormously clarifying. It equips us to know when a compromise can enable win-win outcomes — and when, instead, we should refuse to give ground. In a recent webinar, part of our series Philosophy for Living on Earth, I discussed aspects of Rand’s view of compromise, drawing on her essay “Doesn’t Life Require Compromise?”

I emphasized Rand’s observation that one should compromise only on the details or particulars within a mutually agreed principle, but never on a principle. When you buy a car, for example, you and the seller negotiate — come to a compromise — on the final sale price — within the mutually accepted principle of trade. But a “compromise” on a basic principle, on what you know to be true and right, is destructive: it means violating your convictions and selling out.

I strongly encourage you to read Rand’s essay “Doesn’t Life Require Compromise?” which is laden with insights that can help you navigate your personal relationships, your work, and your life. For more on Rand’s view of compromise, and the crucial role of principles in life, take a look at “The Anatomy of Compromise” (reprinted in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal).

Here is the webinar with Q&A:

Journo on Capitol Hill: What Justice Demands Launch Event

A Capitol Hill launch event marked the publication of ARI senior fellow Elan Journo’s latest book, What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

The July event, cosponsored by the Middle East Forum and the Ayn Rand Institute, was aimed primarily at congressional staffers, and it featured talks by Daniel Pipes, a scholar and the president of the Middle East Forum; Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio; and Rep. Ron DeSantis of Florida…. Read on.

[video] Making Sense of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is as complicated as it is controversial. This summer I gave a talk that unpacks the conflict and makes it more intelligible. In the talk, which is now online, I explore how intellectuals conceptualize and debate the issue, and spotlight the distinctive value of an Objectivist perspective on it. The talk is a kind of preview of certain points in my upcoming book, “What Justice Demands: America and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” Watch it now.

How Books Propel a Philosophic Movement

What does it take to propel Objectivism as a philosophic movement? It’s essential to articulate the meaning of Objectivism and to exhibit its value in concrete form, by reference to the events, trends and developments of the times.

To that end, books are crucial. I took part in this panel with three of my colleagues from the Ayn Rand Institute. We discussed ARI’s strategy and the thinking behind it, and we took questions on our current book projects. Recorded July 6, 2016.